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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

i32       HISTORY OF WESTERN EDUCATION

main contribution to juristic learning was the introduction in his
courses of new parts of the Digest of the Justinian Code. (The
Digest consisted of the comments of eminent Roman lawyers on
the Code, and with it constituted the Corpus Juris Civilis.) He
seems to have been the first to substitute a minute professional
study of the standard text for the mere discussion of legal prin-
ciples. Whatever the exact nature of his innovations, the field of
legal knowledge had been so extended by him that it was no
longer possible to treat jurisprudence as a mere by-study in con-
nection with the liberal arts. Henceforth it ranked as a distinct
subject by itself, deserving and requiring to be learned by specialist
students under specialist teachers; and through its association
with Irnerius, Bologna had become known over Europe as the
place where this could best be done.

During the centuries in which law was growing into a special
study in Italy a similar movement was taking place in the North
with respect to theology. In both cases the starting-point in the
development of learning was the liberal arts; but whereas in
Italy the needs of practical life made rhetoric the art of most
importance and the legal applications of it the main concern of
scholars, the clerical monopoly of education in the North gave the
supremacy to dialectic or logic. Of the three branches of the
trivium, grammar was suspect because of its associations with
paganism, and rhetoric was regarded with a certain indifference
in an age of low literary standards. Logic was the one subject
free from obvious objection which was open to the student eager
for knowledge that would satisfy the intellect.

The beginnings of the absorbing interest in logic and its
theological applications which dominated the thought of the
Middle Ages are to be found in John Scotus Erigena, who, as we
have seen, was the master of the Palace School about the middle
of the Ninth Century, Writing on the subject of predestination,
John began by asserting that true philosophy and true religion
were in perfect agreement, and proceeded to seek in philosophy
for a solution of the problems of faith. For him this implied the
examination of authoritative doctrines by logical methods, and his
own argumentation took the novel form of ideas marshalled in
syllogistic order. But the novelty of his procedure was not
merely one of form. He had really broken with the older clerical
tradition represented by Isidore and Alcuin, and had given a new